Top 10 Most Anticipated Video Games That No One Bought



Top 10 Most Anticipated Video Games That No One Bought

VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Mark Sammut
Pervasive marketing does not immediately equal success in the video game industry. For this list, we'll be looking at games that had a lot of pre-release buildup, yet ended up selling poorly. Our countdown includes “Aliens: Colonial Marines”, “Death Stranding”, “Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two”, and more!
Script Written by Mark Sammut

Top 10 Most Anticipated Games That BOMBED At Retail

Let this be a lesson folks; just because there’s very strong marketing, doesn’t always mean the game is going to sell well. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Anticipated Games That BOMBED At Retail.

For this list, we’ll be looking at games that had a lot of pre-release buildup, yet ended up selling poorly.

#10: “Aliens: Colonial Marines” (2013)

Despite a strong commercial start, a horrendous critical reception and widespread backlash to the marketing campaign meant "Aliens: Colonial Marines" suffered a swift change in fortunes. Gearbox Software's shooter had an infamously messy development cycle that included pre-release gameplay footage that did not paint the most accurate picture of the final product. Once it became obvious that "Colonial Marines" was not the "Aliens" game everyone had been waiting for, the FPS quickly lost its momentum. More than anything, the controversy attracted by "Colonial Marines" made it quite a costly investment for Gearbox and Sega.

#9: “The Order: 1886” (2015)

More often than not, publishers tend to be a bit tight-lipped about a game's commercial performance; however, a lot can be surmised after the fact. "The Order: 1886" was an exciting new PlayStation 4 IP that did a great job showcasing the console's power and also established a universe with a lot of potential for expansion, even if the game itself was too light on content and gameplay sections. Despite sales being described as "steady" by Ready at Dawn's CEO, "The Order: 1886" evidently did not ship enough copies to justify Sony investing more in the IP, at least, not during the PS4's lifespan.

#8: “Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite” (2017)

Sometimes there is no recovering from a bad first impression. "Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite" was the first entry in the series in more than half-a-decade, but most of the sequel's momentum came to a screeching halt when Capcom dropped some hideous trailers and news spread about changes made to the franchise's core mechanics. Despite the gameplay being almost universally praised, "Infinite" was criticized for its visuals and roster, two things crucial for bringing in casual players. Capcom's game had a limb launch and struggled to pick up any steam, dooming "Infinite" to financial mediocrity.

#7: “Star Fox Zero” (2016)

As the first kind-of new game in Nintendo's series in around a decade, "Star Fox Zero" had some hype surrounding it, even if being associated with the Wii U did it no favors. Along with garnering quite a mixed critical reception due to its forced gamepad implementation, "Star Fox Zero" had the worst sales debut in Japan out of the franchise's entire history, and also did not perform much better in the rest of the world. Perhaps the most telling sign that "Star Fox Zero" underperformed is the fact Nintendo opted to port "Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore" and "Lego City Undercover" to the Nintendo Switch before it.

#6: “Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two” (2012)

It seemed like this series could have gone somewhere. The first “Epic Mickey” game, led by industry legend Warren Spector and starring the famous Disney mascot, was a critical and commercial success despite being a Wii exclusive. Unfortunately despite now being a multiplatform title, that same success couldn’t follow over for the sequel. The game garnered very mixed reviews, mostly critical around the companion A.I., and it only sold a quarter of the numbers the original title did. The failure of the title would also end up seeing its developer Junction Point Studios being shut down.

#5: “Death Stranding” (2019)

Directed by Hideo Kojima, starring Norman Reedus, and featuring babies as a central mechanic; "Death Stranding" screamed "acquired taste" from the moment it was announced. Even if the unique adventure game was never going to appeal to everyone, "Death Stranding" was still very-much an AAA project that needed to pull big numbers to be a commercial success. While it did see a strong launch, "Death Stranding" had very little staying power in its following weeks and quickly fell off the best selling charts. Since then it hasn’t even come close to hitting the same numbers as other PS4 exclusives.

#4: “Shenmue” (2000)

Commercial success is relative, as "Shenmue" proves. Along with being one of the best-selling titles on the Dreamcast, "Shenmue" was also one of the most costly; consequently, it ended up failing to get out of the red, a grave that only deepened once "Shenmue II" hit the market. Putting aside whether it has aged well, "Shenmue" was a groundbreaking title for its time and more than earned its reputation as a masterpiece. Influential as a game might be, all the critical praise in the world means nothing if not enough people are buying.

#3: “The Last Guardian” (2016)

Just in case having to follow two gaming masterpieces was not hard enough, "The Last Guardian" went through a troubled development that saw the game miss its initial release date by around five years. While the critical reception was mostly positive, "The Last Guardian" did not perform particularly well commercially and was only the 9th best selling game on the PS4 during its debut month. Like "Ico" and "Shadow of the Colossus," "The Last Guardian" was never expected to be a huge system seller, but its decade-spanning development cycle added some more pressure to the game.

#2: “Daikatana” (2000)

In the same year Ion Storm released the innovative, beloved, and franchise-spawning "Deus Ex," the studio also developed "Daikatana," one of gaming's most notorious missteps. With "Wolfenstein 3D" and "Doom's" John Romero as lead designer, "Daikatana" seemed set to be a surefire hit, a prediction that the infamously aggressive marketing campaign seemed to take for granted. An overly long development cycle, outdated visuals and gameplay, and a poor critical reception killed a lot of "Daikatana's" hype, which reportedly went on to sell extremely poorly. "Daikatana" was a trainwreck on every front.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Haze” (2008)

“Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5” (2015)

“Mighty No. 9” (2016)

#1: “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)

Considering it was made in less than two months, the fact "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" sold reportedly more than a million copies sounds like a pretty decent return. Unfortunately for the entire video game market at the time, Atari overestimated the game's commercial potential by a few million cartridges. Combined with its unflattering critical reception, "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" was nothing short of a disaster and played a significant role in 1983's video game crash. "E.T." helped send Atari, Inc. into a downward spiral, and it never saw the same levels of success ever again.